Leads to Liberty
The prerequisites for this exercise are strong trust and confidence between you and your horse. You will also need to be able to walk with your horse beside you with slack in the line without feeling that your horse is going to bump into you.
TheBeuatiful Nature of the Mirror Me Exercise
Horses love patterns, harmony, and synchronicity. Mirror Me at the Refinement Stage of Learning reinforces all of these and looks and feels relaxed and in unison and requires being a good Team Leader for your horse with strong communication and motivation.
The exercise of Mirror Me is neither following nor leading…it is moving together, not one more than the other. Moving together is difficult for most horses because of a very innate characteristic that horses have and that is the desire to follow... because they are natural followers.
The feeling of following is so natural for them, that when you begin this exercise, you will notice that your horse will actually wait for you to take the first step. Although this is one of the most difficult stages for both of you to change.This is not such a bad thing as it actually supports the fact that you have been a trusted leader that your horse wants to follow but it will be a re-teachable aspect to this next step and is why it is not taught at the beginning level of Ground Skills. It will feel awkward at first but given time and focus, the synchronicity of your feet will soon become as one. Remember “Don’t Leave Without Your Horse”. This is what my students call a Judy-ism! :)
In Mirror Me, I ask my horse to move beside me at what I call the “Sweet Spot”. This is a spot that is not behind me nor in front of me. It is also a spot that is defiantly not in my personal space. Most horses, if not reminded of these 3 things at least in the preliminary stages of learning, will naturally go back to normal habits where they will feel more comfortable following behind you. Even if your horse slips back just an inch he is actually in the following position. This is completely normal but that is why we need to have a “Sweet Spot” in mind, which is usually shoulder to shoulder with your horse. that way you will both know exactly where you both should be in order to develop a high level of harmony. In that way, you can be very particular about asking your horse to stay at the “Sweet Spot” when you are at the teaching and reinforcing stages of learning. Being insistent and consistent is very important.
Keep Sessions Short While Teaching
Mirror Me is a real thinking exercise, so as good as it feels to do this with your horse, avoid long sessions. Get a little bit better every time, find a positive spot for your horse to end the session, and then go on with something else and leave it for another day.
When you can walk in harmony with your horse, you begin to feel the dance of synchronicity. It is taking harmony to a whole different level and it feels…well, let’s just say, you will never feel anything like it!!
P.S. in case you didn’t know, it is THE BEST exercise to get really good as you move towards the “ultimate partnership”…the beautiful Liberty.
Mirror Me With 2 Horses
Mirror Me At Liberty
Following, Leading or Going Together
Please Note: Mirror Me takes time, focus, feel and should not be attempted with moving vehicles until you have refined the exercise with your horse. Please seek the guidance of a professional.